Does your kids’ fitness routine need a shakeup from the Wii Fit or Kinect? Try these fun gadgets and apps to get them up and moving.
By Heather Camlot
While we’re sure your kids haven’t tired of their Wii Fit or xBox Kinect, sometimes a fitness routine needs a bit of a shake up to get everyone excited to exercise again. The following six gadgets and apps may be just what the trainer ordered:
Winter, shminter. Let kids clip on an adorable GeoPalz pedometer and hit the hiking trails for some fresh air and good old fashion fun. If that’s not enough of an incentive, no worries: the more steps your kids take and log on the GeoPalz site, the more activity points they earn for free physical prizes like baseball equipment, frisbees and other activity- and educational-based products. Bonus: parents also receive a weekly email to about their child’s progress. GeoPalz, US $25
Pokéwalker for Nintendo DS
We’re not big fans of Pokémon but whatever gets a child moving is a good thing. The Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver DS games come with a free motion detector/pedometer as part of the challenge. Here’s the kicker: to train and strengthen your Pokémon character, the pokéwalker wearer has to actually do some physical exercise of his or her own. The activity is then wirelessly transmitted to the game cartridge, where special features are unlocked for play. Amazon.ca, $40.
What makes exercising bearable for many is tuning into a music and tuning out of one’s surroundings. That’s easy for runners and walkers to do, but not so much for swimmers. If your teen can’t stand being away from her music and claims swimming to be her exercise of choice, now you have a powerful tool to get those toes in the pool. The SwimP3 is a waterproof MP3 that transmits audio without the need for ear buds. With 2GB of storage, your teen can load up on tunes, podcasts or audio books to keep her entertained while making those laps more bearable. Finis, US $160 (US shipping only).
Wobble Deck Balance Board
An Oppenheim Toy award winner, the Wobble Deck Balance Board could be considered the love child of the colourful Simon memory game you likely had as a child and the stability board at your local gym. The electronic toy offers three games, Memory Match, Speed Play and Freestyle. To win the child needs to tip the deck to the right colour at the right time, all the while improving his or her balance, coordination, reflexes and fitness. Mastermind Toys, $40.
I AM LOVE: Kids’ Yoga Journey
Part yoga instruction, part travel story, the I AM LOVE app transports kids to Ancient Egypt for a seaside adventure where they meet and pose as the elements and animals they meet, from mountain to thirsty lizard to Sphinx. Children can pick the best option for their reading level – listen to the book, read the book or autoplay – and indulge in interactive features such as animated poses, breath affirmations and fun facts. iTunes, $2 and Android, $1.
Just how many steps does the Eiffel Tower have and if you actually made it to the top what would the view be? With the Monumental app for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, you and your kids can find out. Monumental features 11 famous landmarks from around the world for exercisers to climb. Your device acts as a step counter (and no, you can’t shake it to cheat) and reveals parts of the landmark the more you climb. When you reach the top, you get a real scenic shot, a record of the time it took you and a virtual souvenir to mark your triumph. You can also share your progress and compete with friends and family on Facebook. And when you’ve completed the 11 monuments you are rewarded with a final climb: all 24,744 steps up Mount Olympus. Good thing you trained! iTunes, free.
First published February 9, 2012, on WorkLivePlayCafe.com.